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ACM TechNews is published every week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.


ACM TechNews is intended as an objective news digest for busy IT Professionals. Views expressed are not necessarily those of either AutoChoice Advisor or ACM. To send comments, please write to technews@hq.acm.org.
Volume 6, Issue 603: Friday, February 6, 2004

  • "Pentagon Calls Off Voting by Internet"
    Washington Post (02/06/04) P. A12; Keating, Dan

    The Pentagon has scrapped plans to allow U.S. servicemen and citizens stationed abroad to vote over the Internet for the upcoming presidential election, following a report from computer-security experts concluding that the system is too susceptible to tampering. After the report, the overseas branches of both the Republican and Democratic parties requested that they not be used as "guinea pigs" in a scheme where the security of their votes could be compromised. Florida election official Paul W. Craft explains that the individual voter's PC represents the greatest security worry; a virus or other clandestine program in a voter's machine could scan keystrokes and record--or alter--votes. Voters based overseas will be allowed to cast Internet ballots as part of a test designed to draw insights about e-voting, but actual votes in the presidential election will be furnished through paper-based absentee ballots. The $22 million e-voting pilot would have involved the participation of approximately 100,000 voters from 50 counties in Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington. California Institute of Technology professor R. Michael Alvarez would like the e-voting experiment to proceed. "As a scientist trying to study it, I hope it will be used in ways that allow us to test it, with demonstration voting or mock voting or whatever, to get a closer look at the claims that have been raised about security," he explains.
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    For information regarding ACM's activities on the e-voting front, visit http://www.acm.org/usacm/Issues/EVoting.htm.

  • "Pondering 'Seamless' Feel of the Web"
    Los Angeles Times (02/05/04) P. C1; Hiltzik, Michael

    The U.S. Patent Office has agreed to review a University of California patent on Web browser technology, with regard to whether the technology patent should be enforced. The agency made its decision after the consortium that oversees the technical protocols of the Web, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), asked the office to overturn the patent outright following a $521 million judgment against Microsoft for violating the patent. In a letter to the Patent Office, W3C director Tim Berners-Lee says enforcing the patent could result in "substantial economic and technical damage to operation of the World Wide Web" if millions of Web site designers are forced to redesign Web sites. W3C's appeal argues that the protocol in UC's 1998 patent had been invented by others, citing work by Hewlett-Packard scientist Dave Raggett as one example of the "prior art" involved in the UC patent. Many pioneers in the development of the Web worked to create public standards and question how such a widely used established technology is now tangled in a patent dispute. According to the patent, UC developed the technology that allows video streams, simple animation formats such as Macromedia's Flash, Java applets, and other multimedia material to launch automatically within the original page. Before the UC technology, Web browsers were clunky and slow in launching plug-in programs in a separate window. Berners-Lee believes the Web could be disrupted for several years while Web site designers spend millions of dollars redesigning their sites. Microsoft has floated the idea of redesigning Explorer, which might force Web designers to rewrite programs such as Flash and Java to make them compatible with the software giant's browser. Such a move would strengthen Microsoft's hold on the programming language of the Web.
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  • "Geeks Put the Unsavvy on Alert: Learn or Log Off"
    New York Times (02/05/04) P. A1; Harmon, Amy

    With viruses such as MyDoom spreading, technophiles are chastising users they view as wanting the benefits of digital technology while shirking from the responsibilities that come with using it. World Wide Web Artists Consortium President Scott Bowling writes, "It takes affirmative action on the part of the clueless user to become infected. How to beat this into people's heads?" Self-proclaimed computer geeks are frustrated at being counted on to fix the damage stemming from the careless actions or non-actions of the computer illiterate--often friends or family--who apparently do not learn from their past mistakes. The techno-savvy claim that these users' habits of not implementing even the most basic security measures--such as being wary of unknown email attachments--demonstrates a willful ignorance that can no longer be tolerated, now that the Internet is so widely used and vulnerable. Some tech enthusiasts have put forward radical ideas to make less sophisticated computer users more responsible: Obtaining a license to operate a computer and being penalized for careless actions are some examples. Many of the computationally unfamiliar argue that virus authors, spammers, and other miscreants are the real culprits behind the problems affecting the Net, and some claim that their confusion over responsible PC security and maintenance is sustained by the computer-savvy's failure to relate concepts and preventative measures in terms they can understand. But both computer literates and illiterates would probably agree that software companies should build more security and ease-of-use into their products.
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  • "A Human Touch?"
    Christian Science Monitor (02/05/04) P. 17; Valigra, Lori

    Robots are expected to become more human in appearance and behavior in the next 10 years or so, and move out of the laboratory and into consumer households once a "killer app" has been found. Commercially available robots are primarily confined to the industrial sector, but sales of personal service robots are expected to increase nearly fourfold in the next several years. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe estimates that 2.1 million service robots will be shipped between 2003 and 2006, and will become more and more commonplace. With advancements, such robots could function as companions for the elderly, personal office assistants, or housekeepers. Companies and institutions that are laying the groundwork for such milestones include Sony, whose humanoid QRIO robot sings, dances, and runs 15 yards a second; Honda, whose ASIMO robot can turn corners and climb stairs; MIT, which is working on Cardea, a mechanized personal assistant that can open doors and move around on a Segway Human Transporter; and the University of Tokyo, which is developing a multi-layered artificial skin for robots with 1,000 organic, pressure-sensitive transistors. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is engaged in a nine-year project to develop robotic caretakers and assistants for the elderly or disabled, a surgical robot system, and other machines with yearly $1 million grants from the Korean Science and Engineering Foundation. The general trend is to make robots more humanoid so the people they interact with have a greater emotional investment, but MIT grad student Aaron Edsinger notes that making robots too human-like could be off-putting.
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  • "Guest-Worker Visas Come Under Fire"
    CNet (02/04/04); Frauenheim, Ed

    Witnesses testified at a Feb. 4 hearing of the House Committee on International Relations that guest-worker visa programs are riddled with fraud and abuse, and Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) called for reforms. The L-1 and H-1B visas have come under fire in the wake of massive layoffs in the technology industry, while supporters argue that such programs are key to the competitiveness of U.S. employers, and their elimination would only cause offshore IT outsourcing to increase. One witness, U.S. citizen and computer programmer Sonia Shah, reported that a former employer misused the L-1 and other visas by paying guest workers below the prevailing wage and denying training and work assignments to domestic staffers--in fact, she said some American employees were hired to serve as "window dressing" to mask the company's use of cheaper foreign labor. Another witness, Patricia Fluno, alleged that a Florida-based unit of Siemens not only replaced her and other American workers with lower-wage employees brought in on L-1s, but ordered her to train her replacement. Hyde's office avowed the existence of documentation estimating that, in 1996, 90 percent of the L petitions scrutinized by the American Consulate in Guangzhou, China, were fraudulent. Michael Gildea of the AFL-CIO testified that the migration of highly skilled work offshore is directly related to guest-worker visas--temporary workers, he wrote, use the time they spend in the United States to gain skills and knowledge that can be transferred back to their native countries. Information Technology Association of America President Harris Miller opposed reforms to the L-1 visa program, contending that such changes could result in a reduction of foreign direct investment made in the United States.
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  • "Catch Us If You Can"
    Fortune (02/09/04) Vol. 149, No. 3, P. 64; Roth, Daniel

    Niklas Jennstrom and Janus Friis, who created the controversial and popular Kazaa file-sharing program, are trying to build a business that will make them rich while protecting them from legal action, which Kazaa failed to do. That business is Skype, a startup that uses some of Kazaa's technology to facilitate PC to PC voice calls of superior quality; even though the Skype software is still in its beta version, it has been downloaded over 6 million times in the last six months, and is used regularly in over 170 countries. Skype will supposedly offer customers free phone calls and generate revenues by charging fees for added features such as voicemail, links to regular phones, and targeted advertising. Skype users simply download the program onto their computers, and a window appears displaying a directory of registered users whose PCs can be called over the Internet; all users need to receive phone calls of unmatched clarity is a microphone. Though both parties must have a Net connection to use Skype, the proliferation of Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi chips over the next several years will result in near-ubiquity of Net access. Jennstrom and Friis believe that Skype, unlike Kazaa, carries few risks of lawsuits because PC to PC calls do not constitute file sharing. The major telecoms have a significant advantage over Skype in that their services work with regular phones and do not require the presence of PCs; however, Skype could dramatically alter people's attitudes toward voice calling and make them feel such services should be free--in fact, FCC Chairman Michael Powell declared at a recent conference that the telecom industry will inevitably change thanks to Skype. Skype's inventors have selected London as the company's base of operations, given its wide access to Americans and Europeans.
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  • "'We're Making Rapid Progress'"
    Newsweek (01/29/04); Barrett, Jennifer

    Amit Yoran, chief of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division, is confident that the new National Cyber Alert System, along with other programs, will significantly reduce threats to cyberspace by improving user preparedness to such threats. In fact, he insists that the United States is better prepared to cope with viruses, despite their increasing sophistication, than it was a few years back. The goal of the National Cyber Alert System is to provide all users with timely, accurate virus data so they can deploy appropriate countermeasures. Yoran says the message of the recent National Cyber Security Summit was misrepresented as indicating that the government will assume control of cybersecurity if technology leaders fail to implement better regulations, adding that both the public and private sectors are enthusiastic to collaborate. He attributes the long time it took cyberattacks to be rated as a serious security threat to the lack of a major cyber-incident akin to Sept. 11, but expresses his belief "that by increasing our preparedness, we increase the likelihood that we will not be struck by a digital Pearl Harbor or an electronic 9/11." Yoran notes that awareness of cyberthreats and preventative measures has spread among corporations and users, while the antivirus community has increased its efficiency. He attests that his division is dynamically implementing the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, pointing out that a simulation of a massive attack on the nation's cyber-infrastructure was recently conducted to evaluate its effects; results indicated that more information must be shared between the public and private sectors. Yoran says a "paradigm shift" is taking place, and the government is becoming more willing to share sensitive intelligence data with private enterprises.
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  • "From R2D2 to Spirit and Beyond: What's in Store for Intelligent Robots?"
    Knowledge@Wharton (02/10/04)

    The romantic or dark visions of robots popularized in science fiction and movies is a far cry from the actual state of robotics and its future prospects. Vijay Kumar, director of Penn Engineering's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing, and Perception Lab, acknowledges that certain jobs currently done by people will be handed over to robots, but only those that function within "4D environments" such as burning buildings, biochemical experiments, and menial household chores--areas that Kumar characterizes as "dangerous, dirty, dull, and difficult." Robots' widest potential application is augmentation, in which machines are used to enhance or extend human capabilities. Automation technologies could augment drug discovery by providing tireless tools for precisely manipulating and analyzing fluids and solutions, while surgeons could deliver a new level of precision to operations with robotic devices. The military is also eying robots as vehicles for remote surveillance and search-and-rescue operations. Kumar thinks robots will have the deepest penetration in the services industries--robotic lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners are already available to consumers, while airlines use sensitive robotic arms to clean jets. For now, the widest use of robotics has been in the manufacturing sector, the automotive industry in particular: Applications include "fixed automation" such as mail sorting in major distribution centers; "programmable automation," in which equipment is designed to accommodate a spectrum of product modifications within a specific class; and "flexible automation" involving equipment designed to fabricate various products or components.
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  • "Protecting the Cellphone User's Right to Hide"
    New York Times (02/05/04) P. E5; Selingo, Jeffrey

    Marketers are expecting a windfall through ads, coupons, and other come-ons sent wirelessly to cell phones by leveraging technology that tracks a caller's location, and at the moment there is little cell phone users can do to stop this, apart from turning off their location-tracking features. Wireless carriers are required by law to make cell phone users' locations traceable when they make 911 calls: Carriers that track callers via the Global Positioning System must be able to locate approximately one-third of wireless callers within 160 feet, while those that use land-based triangulation must find callers within 320 feet. Bell Labs researchers have created software known as Privacy-Conscious Personalization designed to give cell phone users' greater control over the disclosure of their location. Wireless callers would use the software to choose their preferences on when they want their location revealed, either through their cell phone's screen or on the carrier's Web site; such preferences could depend on who is requesting the location data, what time of day it is, or the callers' activities. Requests for location are filtered through these preferences, and are permitted or blocked accordingly. The job of managing preferences for millions of cell phone users while their calls are being connected could be too much for a wireless network, but Bell Labs' Rick Hull says the software lets cell phone companies build "preference palettes" designed for different user types. "As users get accustomed to it, service providers will have the flexibility to add some sophistication over time," he explains. Using the software's features requires a wireless carrier with the technology embedded into its network, and Hull says customers should be able to avail themselves of the technology by next year.
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  • "RFID: The Promise (and Danger) of Smart Barcodes"
    Working Knowledge (HBS) (02/02/04); Silverthorne, Sean

    Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, such as those discussed at Harvard Business School's recent Cyberposium 2004, promise to revolutionize inventory and supply-chain management as well as make shopping more convenient, but they also raise concerns about privacy infringement. The potential benefits and dangers of RFID technology were the focus of a panel of RFID users and analysts at the Cyberposium. Jamshed Dubash of The Gillette Company commented that RFID tags affixed to individual products will ease inventory tracking and help guarantee that stores always have items in stock, while the panelists also noted that such a system will facilitate more rapid and effective response to product recalls. Conference attendees were worried that RFID tags could be employed to monitor individuals when a tag number corresponds to the purchaser, but the panelists believed that the RFID industry would embed a shutoff option for consumers in the tags. OAT Systems CEO Prasad Putta declared that RFID technology will find its way into the pharmaceutical, livestock, airline, and health care industries. Analyst Hemant Taneja said he sees potential RFID investments in two spheres--systems and networks that manage all the information collated by tags in the field, and vertical applications that leverage the collected data. Dubash noted that RFID technology might be deployed at a more rapid clip than other new technologies because fundamental standards have already been established. Meanwhile, the military is keeping track of shipments through the use of tags in concert with a global positioning system.
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  • "Japan's Tech Comeback"
    Business Week (02/09/04); Kunii, Irene M.; Tashiro, Hiroko

    Though Japan's consumer-electronics market lead has been eroded by upstart Asian players such as Samsung, LG, and Acer in recent years, strong digital appliance sales indicate a rebound for Japanese firms such as Sony, Sharp, Sanyo, and Matsushita. The Japan Electronics & Information Technology Industries Association estimates that plasma TV sales surged 125 percent, liquid-crystal display TV sales rose almost 300 percent, and domestic shipments of DVD recorders leapt nearly 400 percent in 2003. A recent poll of 46 major Japanese electronics firms, chip manufacturers, and others finds that 90 percent are boosting production to meet growing demand, while a December survey by the Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun estimates that 40 percent have raised their planned capital investment for 2004. Japan's tech giants have been struggling to better control their finances and condense their operations: Matsushita has cut its inventory by 30 percent and raised its cash flow by 56 percent in the last fiscal year, while last fall Sony announced the planned elimination of 13 percent of its global workforce and the bolstering of its product development by 2006. However, Japan's consumer-electronics industry could be hit hard if the yen continues to climb against the U.S. dollar, since Japanese firms earn 30 percent to 70 percent of their revenue from exports. Matsushita intends to spend $1.2 billion over the next two years on the development of proprietary chips for products such as digital TVs, DVD recorders, and cell phones, while Sony is pouring billions of dollars into the creation of a high-speed processor that will serve as a core element of its next-generation PlayStation and other products.
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  • "From Art to Science"
    Wall Street Journal (02/05/04) P. B4; Grimes, Ann; Armstrong, David; Lillkvist, Marcus

    Mills College, a small women's only school in Oakland, Calif., offers a two-year graduate program in interdisciplinary computer science designed to provide a computer science background to students' studies as well as offer new skills to broaden their career opportunities. The program is run by Ellen Spertus, who earned her computer science doctorate at MIT, and could help lead more women into the computer industry. The program starts with the basics; students first learn to build robots from Legos. Half the women in the program are on scholarships, and those raising children are allowed to bring them to class in a pinch. The program's graduates include a former nurse now in the bioinformatics industry and an IBM researcher.

    To learn more about ACM's Committee on Women in Computing, visit http://www.acm.org/women.

  • "Research Networks Plan Extensible Peering"
    America's Network (02/02/04); Engebretson, Joan

    U.S. universities and research laboratories on the West Coast plan to set up an extensible peering system using Ethernet technology. With points of presence (POPs) in Seattle and Los Angeles, the "Pacific Wave" project will allow facilities in between to easily hook up to larger international research networks, such as the Defense Research & Engineering Network, Internet2, Canada's CA*Net4, and TANET2 from Taiwan. Previously, facilities along the West Coast outside the immediate vicinity of one of those networks had to purchase expensive tail circuits to connect. The extensible peering project may expand in the future, and will allow other organizations to join the cost-recovering non-profit venture. Border gateway protocol allows participants to set up their own peering connections without staff intervention, says Pacific Northwest Gigapop manager Jan Eveleth, whose group operates the Seattle POP. The system supports fast Ethernet, Gig E, or 10 Gig E rates, she says. Commercial Internet carriers will be able to link up to Pacific Wave, but will not be able to use it as a de facto circuit for their own traffic. But Cohen Communications Group President Robert Cohen sees extensible peering as a commercial necessity in the future as the amount of large-file traffic continues to grow, spurred on by rapid adoption of grid computing in the enterprise; he envisions direct peering for large companies offered as a service by carriers and says extensible Ethernet could save infrastructure costs in that scenario.
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  • "101 Ways to Save the Internet"
    Wired (01/04) Vol. 12, No. 1, P. 130; Boutin, Paul

    The problems plaguing the Internet--viruses, spammers, identity theft, hacking--spring from its most attractive features such as its openness, the free flow of data, and peer-to-peer (P2P) cooperation. Eliminating these elements would seriously devalue the Net, but there are other approaches to be considered. Anti-spam proposals include the development of filters that direct distributed denial-of-service attacks back at spammers; the approval of the Do Not Spam list; and allowing online mailing list members to have their addresses scrambled in posts. A number of suggestions seek to uphold user privacy and prevent ID theft, among them: A ban on the consolidation of all corporate customer data following a merger, the public exposure of executives whose firms leak their clients' credit card numbers or other sensitive personal data, and a one-call service proposed by Wells Fargo that would allow financial services companies to share and analyze information to distinguish between customers and impostors. PC users are recommended to differentiate screen names from email addresses to reduce spam; switch to ISPs that offer better anti-spam and anti-virus safeguards; pressure companies to disclose the personal data they have accumulated and with whom they have shared it; beware of suspicious email attachments; and download security and virus patches. Advised intellectual property reforms include jettisoning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and scaling back or eliminating the U.S. Patent Office's power to approve patents for software and widely-used Internet technologies. Suggested hacking or intrusion countermeasures range from protecting and rewarding white-hat hackers to developing counterspyware designed to detect spyware on computers and trace its point of origin. Other proposals to restore the Internet include: The establishment of an X-rated Internet domain; proliferation of Wi-Fi access; an upgrade to IPv6; an industry standard for network security; simplification of URLs; a rollout of ubiquitous mesh networks; corporate use of digital signatures; and the replacement of servers with P2P.
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  • "Eyes and Ears Everywhere"
    EDN Magazine (01/22/04) Vol. 49, No. 2, P. 61; Cravotta, Nicholas

    Many companies are turning to wireless technology to link up embedded device networks in an effort to save money and expand their mobility, though this connectivity carries certain compromises. Sustaining battery life for long periods requires reductions in transmission frequency and length; one could detect battery failure by waiting for an endpoint to cease transmitting, or have an access point (AP) monitor endpoint-signal strength via a received-signal-strength indicator so that signal degradation triggers a request for a battery change. The addition of transmit-only nodes will help keep the embedded devices from consuming power by regularly checking for signals, while power consumption could be reduced to the point where the links can be run off the embedded device in a parasitic mode. Connectivity needs vary according to the endpoint: Periodic monitoring of devices keeps the data flow consistent, but such an approach is less practical for sporadic signals; consistent transmission also sucks up battery life rapidly, so a polling mechanism could be introduced to keep endpoints transmitting only when they are requested to do so by an AP. The tradeoff, however, is an increase in latency between transmissions as well as a need for a store-and-forward mechanism, which is well suited for mobile endpoints. Assorted applications on the same network can be more efficiently supported by a hybrid transmission mechanism. Ease of use is an important consideration, especially if the network is comprised of hundreds or thousands of devices. Control is sacrificed when an AP automatically registers devices, while a manual process to connect an endpoint with an AP upholds security; control can be decentralized in exchange for higher endpoint costs if one elects to deploy a Web server in an endpoint to support remote control and management, while embedding intelligence in the AP raises its cost but sets up more control and monitoring features.
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  • "Toxic Legacy"
    Computerworld (02/02/04) Vol. 32, No. 5, P. 19; Mitchell, Robert L.

    The squeeze is on manufacturers to recycle IT products more responsibly as public awareness of e-waste's hazards spreads and various recycling regulations mount. In early 2003, the European Union passed several e-waste directives: One requires IT product vendors to phase out certain toxic materials from their products, while the other requires manufacturers to pay for end-of-life product disposal. Meanwhile, Gartner estimates that over two dozen recycling proposals are pending in U.S. state legislatures. Many IT organizations stockpile outdated and unused hardware in an effort to avoid recycling, but both manufacturers and recyclers say this strategy will become less and less affordable in light of rising storage and disposal costs; yet most companies are hesitant to deploy a proper disposal program because nowadays disposal is more likely to incur a net cost. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and the Basel Action Network (BAN) reported in 2002 that between 50 percent and 80 percent of e-waste generated in the United States is exported to developing countries with inadequate disposal infrastructure. Some vendors have already been targeted as poor e-waste recyclers, and Kaiser Permanente's Jim Regan thinks sooner or later a large corporate user of IT products will also face such criticism; in fact, BAN coordinator Jim Puckett says that his organization will start putting the screws to users soon. But e-waste recycling itself is problematic: Most recycling processes are relatively crude and inefficient, and the recycling industry is highly fragmented. Regan recommends inserting specific terms for IT asset disposal into requests for proposals for new equipment, while leasing hardware takes the onus of e-waste disposal off of users.
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  • "A Fountain of Knowledge"
    IEEE Spectrum (01/04); Cass, Stephen

    IBM's WebFountain analysis engine is designed to draw upon public and proprietary resources, 160 TB of disk space, and a massive conglomeration of hardware and software to make sense of the chaotic Internet. With such a tool, companies can make more intelligent business decisions and more machine understanding research can migrate out of the laboratory via an open commercial platform for data miners and content providers. WebFountain takes unstructured data from all over the Internet--personal Web pages, blogs, emails, etc.--and converts it into a structured, XML-tagged format that can be mined for meaning: The system sends out spider or crawler programs over the Web to record the text of each page they encounter and follow any page links they discover. The data is then fed into WebFountain's main computer cluster, where irrelevant content is removed and annotator programs start reformatting documents into structured data by scanning each document for recognizable words and phrases and inserting the appropriate XML labels. Some annotators are programmed to deduce a document's meaning using a set of real-world knowledge bases that can be public or proprietary. Annotators must also disambiguate the intended meaning using knowledge base data and any other identifiable terms. Annotation is followed by additional insight-generating operations in another cluster, which is then followed by high-level analyses in yet another cluster. Though WebFountain is geared for business executives, direct, search-engine-like access to the system is a long way off, as IBM teams up with other industry partners to provide customized queries whose results executives can obtain through partner-run Web sites.
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  • "Instant Messaging: Time for IT to Pay Attention"
    Business Communications Review (01/04) Vol. 34, No. 1, P. 50; Turek, Melanie

    IT departments are now taking instant messaging (IM) as seriously as email because of its benefits as a collaboration tool, and Nemertes Research analysts expect most enterprises to be pervasively employing IM by mid to late 2004. Typical IM enterprise adoption begins with workers using free consumer services on their own, and then IM traffic on the corporate network grows to a point where IT departments take an interest, after which IT decides to control IM traffic and standardize on one or more IM clients or systems. IM's advantages, in addition to popularity, include heavy employee familiarity and viral growth. There are several paths IT can take to control IM: Instituting written security and archiving protocols for users to follow while letting them choose preferred IM services; employing third-party security, management, and archiving software; or standardizing on an enterprise-class system, which Nemertes analysts recommend. The incompatibility between enterprise products and other IM systems is a significant problem, so several vendors are offering third-party products that enhance consumer services with interoperability, manageability, and security. Some enterprises want to incorporate presence across the organization and its applications via IM, although reaching such a goal is several years away. "I think it needs to be a part of everything we do, so you always know what someone's availability is and how to reach them--it's key to a successful environment," notes one communications director. There are also worries that enterprise-wide presence will engender other problems, such as a flood of instant requests that eat into people's productivity. Presence deployment requires serious corporate consideration of user access restrictions.